Merrill girls light it up at TFA ?state? indoor

The resurgent MHS girls track team found out it could compete with the best in the state in Saturday’s Track Federation of America (TFA) Invite, informally known as the indoor state meet.
“We rated this as one of the most successful meets we’ve had in a long time,” Merrill coach Greg Eichelkraut said. “It was just a fun meet to be at.
“Our veterans-Jess Sabey, Emily Jones, Mandy Vonderheid, Brianna Piepenbrok, Ashley Berton handled everything very well, and were just strong and steady through the whole meet. Our relay teams were focused on placing and attacking our team records. If they didn’t set a record they did a nice job tying them.
“We had some minor setbacks through the meet, like any meet, but the athletes just put them aside and kept performing throughout the meet. We also saw some significant contributions from Morgan (Marnholtz) and Kaitlin (Berry). They held their own without a doubt. They certainly got an eduction. They were a little wide-eyed, but that’s why we go there. To learn what we need to do to be successful at the big meets down the road.”
The 800M squad of Vonderheid, Piepenbrok, Sabey and Berry broke the 2008 school record by 1.2 seconds with a 1:53.08, scoring 8th-place points.
The girls just missed tallying team points four times with ninth-place finishes. Jones cleared 9′ 6″ in the pole vault while tying her school mark. Vonderheid ran :07.68 in the prelims and :07.69 in the semis, missing the finals by a spot and the school record by mere hundredths.
Sabey jumped 32′ 2.5″ in the triple in the prelims and 31′ 7″ in the finals, and the 1600M relay group of Marnholtz, Sabey, Berton and Vonderheid ranked 9th in 4:21.75, a half-second off the MHS record.
“We had four ninth-place finishes,” Eichelkraut said. “While we’re proud of those performances, when you’re that close to medaling, they’re going to walk away hungry.”
Eichelkraut expected that hunger to show up in Tuesday’s WVC Indoor Meet held at UW-Stevens Point. Results of the meet will be covered in next week’s Foto News.
Piepenbrok rated 16th in the 55M prelims in :07.96 and ranked 14th after a :07.91 in the semis.
“This was the first time we had 2 runners qualify for semifinals,” Eichelkraut said. “Brianna’s starts out of the blocks were strong to put her into position to compete at the highest level she ever has.”
Berton ranked 22nd in the 400M in 1:06.16, and Piepenbrok (14′ 9.5″) and Hannah Marrier (13′ 11″) were 24th and 37th in the long jump. Marnholtz jumped 25th in the triple (30′ 10.25″), and Marrier (:10.39) and Christa Schleif (:10.52) placed 32nd and 35th in the 55M hurdles. In the 800M, Lauren Hojan (2:42.22), Jourdyn Mootz (2:45.82) and Kate Williams (2:52.43) ran 68th, 71st and 79th.

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